It all started in August 2011, when three intrepid women — Lois Petty, Jean Huba, and Martina Duncan — headed to the UBC campus to attend a retreat with the renowned Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. Along with these women were many Buddhist monks from Plum Village in France, where this distinguished monk has a monastery, and nearly 1,000 Buddhist practitioners (including families with children) from the Lower Mainland, B.C., and the United States.
It was a week-long retreat and was truly transformational. Experiencing meditation in a group that size was profound and the teachings from Thay, as he is referred to, were insightful. You may be interested to know that Thay considers Jesus one of his spiritual ancestors, and he quoted words from Jesus as well as the Buddha in his teachings. We are all on a spiritual path, and how we understand that differs for each of us.
When we returned from that retreat, there was great interest among people from our area, so we held a gathering, described our experiences, and related stories of the event to the people in attendance. There was interest in starting a meditation group in our area, so we began to meet once a month at St. Alban’s Church hall to listen to a segment of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings and then spend 20 minutes together in group meditation. This monthly gathering continued until the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt.
Then, in November 2020, someone suggested we try our group meeting online, via Zoom. Wonder of wonders, the intimacy that happened in the meeting room at St. Alban’s happened online in our Zoom gatherings as well. And even more inspiring: our group wanted to meet every week, not just monthly.
Since that time, we have been gathering each Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. We have readings from Thich Nhat Hanh or other contemplative leaders, and then spend 20 minutes in group meditation. It is deeply connecting and a wonderful gathering. There are some people who drop in occasionally and some who attend the Zoom gathering each week.
Our gathering is an inclusive group, and we would like to invite you to join us if you are curious, have a regular meditation practice, or would like to learn about meditation. If this resonates for you, call Martina at (250) 453-2022 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Zoom link. We would love for you to join us.
Blessings and Namaste!